As I advance with my research, I have found myself very interested in investigating the effects U.S policy has had on refugees and how it limits the opportunities to receive and education. I have learned about the legal policies that refugees require though scholarly articles to obtain an education. The current administration of the United States is against the migration of certain populations which has affected some students to obtain a visa. I decided to interview Samba Dieng, the Director of the Office of International Affairs at Lehigh University, to have reliable and authentic information about the migration requirements for international students. Additionally, I also wanted to learn the effect of the U.S foreign policy on international students.
Interviewer: Fabiana Rojas
Interviewee: Samba Dieng; Director of the Office of International Affairs at Lehigh University.
Interviewer: Explain the process for international students to obtain a visa once they get accepted.
Interviewee: Once the international applicant gets accepted, the Admissions Office sends the acceptance file to the Office of International Affairs and we start the process for the student to get the visa. We send the I-20 form to each student and the international student get an email in which he or she has to get into the IHome website and submit some documents such as the copy of passport and a financial document that states that the student can afford to come to Lehigh. After the student gets its credentials accepted, they have to make an appointment with the U.S Embassy and obtain the VISA.
Interviewer: How long is the student visa viable?
Interviewee: It depends on the country the student comes from. Some students get the VISA for 5 years (non STEM students) and other gets the VISA for 7 years (STEM students). Additionally, students could also get the VISA for one year and they would have to apply every year for the F-1 VISA.
Interviewer: How has the travel ban and current U.S foreing policy against migrating populations affected students from the countries affected to obtain a visa?
Interviewee: The travel ban has not affected Lehigh directly since we did not usually got applications from people of the affected countries. However, this policy was a national and international scandal that made international students from all over the world to look for other destinations to obtain an educational degree. The travel ban basically had a negative impact on U.S educational institutions because now international students are reluctant to apply to the U.S since there are migration obstacles.
Interviewer: You mentioned that for an international student to get a U.S visa they have to show financial documents that prove that they can pay the university. What would happen to students that do not have the financial credentials to pay Lehigh but still get accepted to the university?
Interviewee: Lehigh offers a lot of scholarships for international students that do not have financial resources. In that case, they would have to submit to the IHome website letter that states the scholarship Lehigh gave them.
Interviewer: In the case that the U.S Embassy denies a visa to the student, what would you do to help them obtain it?
Interviewee: This is a situation that rarely happens. Most of the students that go to their appointments in the U.S embassy with all of the documents do get the visa. In the case that the U.S embassy denies the visa, we would have to speak to a representative of Pennsylvania to help us convince the immigration officers to give the visa to the student. This is a tedious and long process that would and it would be the last resource we use.
Interviewer: Thank you so much for your time
Interviewee: You’re welcome.